South St started out as an area populated many new immigrants, evolved into a hippie mecca in the 60's then a punk rock haven in the 70's-80's, now it's just an open air mall/meat market on weekend nights. If you like to stroll down the sidewalk at a snails pace and holler out to the hot mammas, well then, this is the street for you. This street used to be full of funky little independent stores , but the are gradually being replaced by Mc Donald's, Dairy Queens, Starbucks, Gaps, Baby Gaps, My Baby's Baby's Gap & Foot Lockers. The "Mall-ification of South Street sucks & pisses the locals off.
Unique Suggestions: Though there are some gems that remind us of the old days, .Eyes Gallery (imported handicrafts - don miss the cool 2nd floor), Jim's Steaks, Tattoo Moms Bar, (If you like to drink in a place where MTV just threw up, then this is your kind of place!)(Anna makes a great grilled cheese too)) Zipper Head, Copa, TLA, Chef Market etc.
Fun Alternatives: Friday & Saturday summer nights can seem pretty chaotic for those that don't enjoy rubbernecking crowds, but it doers make for some interesting people watching. Oh, and please God, if the ever try to revive the South Street Mardis Gras thing again, STAY AWAY! That's when pubescent boys & girls from South Jersey come, drink crappy high-powered fruit drinks, show their boobs, puke on our houses & generally destroy things in general. There have been riots in the past during our fake Mardis Gras!
A lot of unique shops with weird fantasy statues and jewelry, books on magic and buddhism, and several good places to eat. Very good for teenagers, new agers, and people who like weird things. Anyone else might be a bit disturbed by the shops and the people.
Unique Suggestions: Theatre of the Living Arts. Check it out beforehand and see if there's a night when you're in Philadelphia that they have a band you like playing. VERY cheap tickets to often big bands, general admission but not early lines so you can get there just half an hour to an hour early and be a couple feet from your favorite band.
South Street: Way overrated, a lot of kids and strange beings there, tattoo shops , nothing really worth visiting, in my opinion. Traffic a mess, just not a nice area except for Jim's Steaks which would be worth a trip for,but the other stuff, you could pass on....
South street is rife with cheeziness. Independence Hall type stuff is free but get there early so you don't wait in line to gawk at the broken bell, which is a bit of a letdown. Locals avoid these places like the plague.